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Dennis Hissink : December 15th 2004 - 11:42 CET

Microsoft and Fujifilm team to lower barriers

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MicrosoftIn the midst of the busy holiday photo-processing season, Microsoft Corp. announced that it has teamed with Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. to connect millions of digital photographers with retailers for easy and convenient printing of digital pictures. Beginning this week, Fujifilm's Get The Picture Online service is accessible directly through the Windows XP Online Print Wizard, MSN Photos and Microsoft Digital Image Suite. This will enable consumers to order professionally processed digital prints directly from a Windows XP-based PC for pickup in as little as an hour at participating Fujifilm retail photo centers, including those at Sam's Club, Ritz Camera Centers Inc. and Wolf Camera Inc.
"As the digital imaging market continues to boom, with worldwide images captured expected to exceed 108 billion, it is increasingly more necessary for leaders in the technology and photography industries to collaborate to create solutions that help consumers view and enjoy their photos in new and compelling ways," said Ron Glaz, Digital Imaging Program director at IDC. "The ability to order prints directly from the Windows XP desktop for pickup at retail within a matter of hours represents a significant step forward in offering new market opportunities for retailers and greater flexibility and convenience for consumers."

Get the Picture Online was the first online print ordering system to offer pickup in as little as one hour. It uses Fujifilm's extensive integrated network, the Frontier Family of Digital Lab Systems, which account for more than 50 percent of all such systems installed nationally, to provide online ordering capabilities for consumers who can elect to pick up their prints at stores or have the pictures mailed to their home. To date more than 5,000 store locations, from mass-market retailers to independent photo labs, are linked to the service, providing a convenient option for high-quality digital picture prints.

The enhanced Online Print Wizard provides an extensible architecture for retailers, such as those on the Fujifilm network, to offer consumers online print-ordering services via Windows XP with no software download required. As a result, users of Windows XP are able to order prints online for postal mail delivery or have them printed and ready for pickup at the retailer of their choice, whether it's around the corner from home, close to the office or across the country near loved ones.

"Consumers want high-quality prints from their digital pictures for albums, frames, scrapbooks or just for passing among friends and family," said Howard Locke, product manager for Digital Services at Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. "Since lifestyles and schedules vary, the flexibility of Get the Picture Online empowers consumers to get real prints of their digital pictures in a manner that is most convenient to them, either as a quick pickup during the next trip to the store or through the mail for those with the busiest of schedules."

Once a photo or group of photos is selected on the Windows XP desktop, consumers can click on the Order Prints Online icon and elect to pick up their prints at the photo center of their choice, locally or nationally at retailers including Sam's Club, Ritz Camera and Wolf Camera, or have the printed pictures mailed to their homes. Pickup locations are chosen via a ZIP code-based search. Retailers can offer a choice of wallet-size, 4x6-, 5x7- and 8x10-inch prints or customized options based on their product assortment. As the images are shown on screen, the system will suggest an optimal print size based on resolution. The service also will allow consumers to do basic photo editing, including image cropping, image rotating and red-eye correction, at some participating retailers.

"The proliferation of digital imaging has transformed the photo-processing industry and introduced new opportunities to serve customers online," said Richard Tranchida, executive vice president of Ritz Camera. "By working with companies like Microsoft and Fujifilm, we are able to extend the benefits of our online ordering service to even more consumers and offer them a solution that's easy, convenient and economical."

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